I’m not what you might call a conventional Final Fantasy fan, but I love it Final Fantasy VII remake. The only Final Fantasy I’ve played other than Final Fantasy XV, which I loved despite its obvious flaws, it was one of the first games I got into at the start of the pandemic, stepping away and many others from the traumatic headlines and the increased death toll. I became part of an equally fucked up world, but one that I could change by joining a group of friends who are fighting for what is just in the most extravagant way of anime, all with fantastic fights and dazzling visuals.
So it goes without saying that I was excited to play Intermission of the episode, a PlayStation 5-exclusive expansion that focuses on Yuffie Kisaragi (Suzie Yeung) while also providing much-awaited story information that hints at what could be the next step in this iteration of Cloud and the gang. Unfortunately, Intermission of the episode does not fully meet the high standards set by the base game and falls into some of the same pitfalls VII Remake also done towards the end. Still, its continued combat along with the introduction of a few great characters does enough to make it worth its relatively shorter runtime and lower price tag, with the PS5’s upgrades sweetening the deal.
Somewhat confusing, this expansion is part of Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, which is actually a remaster of the 2020 game for PS5 that beautifies some of the textures and improves frame rate and resolution while adding a normal difficulty option for the “classic” turn-based mode that no one has. play. The remaster itself is free to anyone who has a copy of the original (aside from those who got the game through PlayStation Plus), but Intermission of the episode must be purchased separately for $ 19.99, or as part of Intergrade if you are not entitled to a free version. As Square Enix is ââused to doing, this feels like an unnecessarily complicated way of doing things, and I’m not entirely convinced that the expansion couldn’t have been sold as a DLC episode for the game. original on PlayStation 4, especially since the new console is so hard to find.
Once you’re able to start the game, however, things are pretty good. The visual improvements are slight but noticeable, which is good as it was already one of the prettiest games on the PS4. The biggest improvements are in background textures like skyboxes and doors, which didn’t receive as much love as the character models and large sets and therefore might look a bit pixelated or ugly compared to the rest of the game.
Yuffie is the star of the entire episode, not coming into contact with any of the main cast other than a few glances in the distance and, oddly enough, playing a few mini-games with them. Like many characters in Final Fantasy VII remakeYuffie was originally a relatively minor character who now spends more time in the limelight, and while I admit not knowing anything about the original iteration, I absolutely love this one. Ninja from the oft-referenced country of Wutai, Yuffie is exuberant and cheerful most of the time, dancing dizzy as she talks about infiltrating fascist governments and fighting the bad guys. It’s a sweet sweetness that can be overdone in some anime and JRPGs, but it strikes a good balance here, with Yeung giving a great performance for the character in the English localization.
One of the character’s best moments comes right before a boss fight, where she gives a dramatic introduction with changing art in the background, finally revealing her true outfit after five hours of wearing a deliciously silly Moogle costume, for fall face-first to the ground. This is the kind of anime silliness that was Final Fantasy VII remake at her best, and Yuffie excels at it.
Representing the worst of Final Fantasy VII remake is Sonon Kusakabe (Aleks Le), Anime Boy (â¢) resident with spiky hair and no personality. The episode really tries to make you worry about Sonon and Yuffie bonding as one between a sibling, even though they’re not related by blood, but Sonon’s lack of characteristic traits does. of him a blank slate which I don’t care.
However, it’s still good for something, as it makes a nice addition to the game’s combat. It works mostly the same as the base game, where you attack enemies in real time while creating a gauge that lets you freeze time and use an ability, spell, or item. You unfortunately can’t control Sonon once he’s joined your party (the only party member in the episode), but you can “synergize” with him to use both of your gauges at once for a sophisticated attack that inflicts additional damage. Yuffie’s shuriken (or boomerang) also breathes life into things, as she can send him to do ranged damage or attack villains head-on, making up for the lack of variety in playable characters by giving her different ways to control. She can also use the shuriken outside of combat to hit crates and switches from a distance, which sets up simple but unintrusive puzzles.
One of Yuffie’s defining characteristics is that she is obsessed with materia, the glowing orbs that give characters various abilities such as spells, increased health, or new attacks. The only reason she and Sonon decide to infiltrate the Shinra building is that they want to find “advanced materials”, which doesn’t seem like enough motivation to me, but the biggest gripe I have is knowing how this is taken into account in the gameplay. Unlike the base game, where your abilities, including the use of matter, are introduced over time so as not to be too overwhelming, Intermission of the episode assumes you’ve played this before and loads you up with tons of items including matter in a very short period of time. Even though I figured it out, I hated having to spend so much time in the menu playing with abilities and billion items for the best optimization, which caused me to forget some of them and get into some battles. under-prepared, getting my butt kicked. It’s a symptom of having an RPG with so many complex systems happening in such a short amount of time, around 10 hours, and I wonder if it would have worked better if it had scaled down some of those elements.
I also have to mention the new mini-game that Yuffie is playing with a few characters from the base game, Fort Condor. Based on a time attack minigame from the original, the game has you placing soldiers and Shinra machines as they automatically attack the other player’s, with the ultimate goal being to take down the most. eagles on the back of each tray, somewhat resembling a much simpler version of Automatic failures. But because it’s so much simpler, boobies like me can actually navigate it, and I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it. I tend to ignore those extended mini-games littered around the world like Gwent in The Witcher III because that seems like too much of a distraction from what I’m here for, but I ended up playing every mission just because I loved it so much, adding a few hours to my playtime. There is also a mini-game where you attack cubes worth different points to unlock various materials, but it looked like a copy and paste of the same game from the original.
Like any good DLC or expansion, Intermission of the episode gives us more of the things we loved about the original game: colorful characters, addicting combat and a beautiful world, empowered by the power of the PS5. However, it also runs into some of the same issues the game had in its final act, where what was always an accessible and engaging story for newcomers seemed to throw us by the wayside, bringing new storylines and villains to the world. fight without much introduction at all.
If you liked VII Redo, it’s hard to imagine that you don’t enjoy this episode. But if you couldn’t find a PS5 or don’t want to pay extra for it, you don’t miss out on too much either. Intermission of the episode looks like a nice snack to munch on while waiting for the next main course with part two, providing just enough new wrinkles and story elements to feel fresh while not doing anything crazy enough to warrant it as essential.
Final Fantasy VII Remake: Episode Intermission was developed and published by Square Enix. It is available for the PlayStation 5.
Joseph Stanichar is a freelance writer specializing in video games and pop culture. He wrote for publications such as Game Informer, Twinfini and The post office. He’s on Twitter @JosephStanichar.